Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) was an American Puritan minister and a prominent figure in early colonial New England. Shepard was born in Towcester, Northamptonshire. His mother died when he was four years old and he lived a hard life with his stepmother. His father died when he was ten years old, at which point he lived with his grandparents and then with an older brother whom he respected very much. His schoolteacher piqued his scientific interest, which eventually led to admission to Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge at the age of fifteen.
In 1627, he became a schoolteacher's assistant in a high school. He became a minister whose sermons and puritanical customs angered the archbishop of the Church of England, William Laud, and was forbidden to preach. After the death of his eldest son, he left England in 1635 with his wife and youngest son and traveled to Massachusetts in colonial America.